Deflate Yourself and Edify Others #5

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth (1 Corinthians 8:1 KJV).

Ignorance can be very dangerous—knowledge can be equally detrimental!

First Corinthians chapter 8 closes with: “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” The Apostle Paul knew more rightly divided Scripture than any of us Christians alive today. He could have been “puffed up.” Nevertheless, he was meek, exercising “charity” to “edify” other believers.

Paul the Apostle, God’s “pattern” for us in the Dispensation of Grace, practiced what he preached. He was very careful not (NOT!, NOT!) to selfishly use his liberty under grace as an excuse to do anything and everything he wanted. If the action could potentially discourage another Christian and destroy his edification process, Paul said he would never (NEVER!, NEVER!) engage in the behavior. In the case of today’s Scripture, it was food offered to idols. Still, the principle of charity should guide every aspect of our Christian life.

Galatians 5:13 again: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Rather than being “puffed up” in knowledge, we should remember “charity edifieth” (today’s Scripture). Romans 14:19 says: “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” To “edify” means “to build up” or “strengthen” (as opposed to tearing down, “destroying”—Romans 14:15). The weaker brother needs strengthening rather than further weakening (1 Corinthians 8:9-12), and strengthening will result if the stronger brother sets the example of charity.

Pride is “the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6): it caused Lucifer to fall and become Satan. Satanic behavior does not belong in the Christian’s life. Galatians 5:22,23 tell us: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” The Spirit of God works in the believer to produce “meekness,” deflating the prideful soul. He also produces “love,” which leads to “charity,” which causes the “edification” of others! 🙂

Day By Day

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16 KJV).

Will Bible reading on Sunday suffice for the week? Today’s Scripture says absolutely not!

A friend in the ministry related a story of encountering a very strange man. After he delivered his sermon, the man came to him and wanted to argue with him about Scripture. When my friend asked him where his Bible was, he said that he did not own one! How was he going to discuss Scripture with my friend who had a Bible, if he did not even have his own personal copy? As it turned out, he said that he had heard the Bible preached all his life, so he did not need to have one for himself. He “knew” what it said because he “remembered” what he had heard preachers say what it said! (That is faulty on so many levels!)

It is a common idea that the Christian can go to church on Sunday, let the minister read from and teach the Bible, and have no further need for “Bible study” until the next weekend. This is exactly why there is so much Bible ignorance and spiritual immaturity in the professing church. There is so much reliance on ministers—and they are often not even reading and/or teaching verses properly! Furthermore, one day of Bible reading a week is spiritual starvation.

Friends, our inward man must be renewed “day by day” (today’s Scripture). Ephesians 4:23 says we need to be “renewed in the spirit of [our] mind.” Romans 12:2 amplifies: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” If the Scriptures are not renewing our mind “day by day,” we are being “conformed to this world” every day. There is no power of the indwelling Holy Spirit in our lives because there is no doctrine for Him to use. Every day, we are taking in all the information the evil world system wants to teach us. We must have sound Bible doctrine—“day by day” Bible study—to win that battle between truth and error!

A Filling—Not a Feeling!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; (Ephesians 5:18,19 KJV).

Notice, dear friends, this is a filling not a feeling!

A Christian woman approached me recently to ask if I believed in “the filling of the Holy Ghost.” I told her that I most certainly did, as the Bible does tell us to be “filled with the Spirit” (cf. today’s Scripture). However, knowing her background, I quickly added, “But there is no loss of self-control with this filling.” Whether today, or thousands of years ago, Satan’s religious system always has its counterfeits. While “praise dancing” feels good, while “holy laughter” brings some people happiness, feelings and emotions do not have the authority to gauge truth. What does it mean to be “filled with the Spirit?”

If we turn to the companion passage of today’s Scripture, we see the term defined for us. Colossians 3:16 says: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” To be “filled with the Spirit” is to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” In other words, His thinking controls us because we have studied and memorized His Holy Word. The Bible says that we need to “mind the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5-8). This is how the Spirit of God leads us. By recalling what we read, we walk in line with what His Word says today in the Dispensation of Grace (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon).

How sad it is when people reduce the role of the Holy Spirit to nothing more than some strange feeling that causes one to engage in some pretty wild, disorderly, absurd behaviors. Religious tradition is so intoxicating, so inebriating, it causes people to lose all sense of reason. Nevertheless, when we “let the word of Christ dwell in [us] richly in all wisdom,” it becomes a filling rather than a feeling!

Confidence

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day (2 Timothy 1:12 KJV).

What assurance the Christian has!

I recently watched a sad documentary on the kidnapping and murder of a teenager. Her murderer had been captured, incarcerated, and executed. Near the end, her father, a preacher, revealed that “she knew where she was going.” In her farewell note, she urged her family to keep on living for Jesus Christ, and that all would turn out right. Undoubtedly, God’s grace is the only reason this family has coped with such a loss all these decades. While it will never bring her back here, it gives them hope to see her in Heaven one day.

Friends, there is no guarantee that our physical bodies will remain intact until we die (or reach Heaven via the Rapture). Due to various sicknesses and injuries, we may lose limbs, tissue, and organs. However, in Christ, we never have to worry about our spirits being separated from Almighty God. By simple faith in Jesus Christ’s finish crosswork, we have been bound forever to God Himself. The Apostle Paul, awaiting execution, wrote in today’s Scripture that he was “persuaded.” God was “able”—yes, more than able—to hang on to him. As someone would store a valuable item in a safe, so Paul had entrusted his soul to Father God. There was complete security in Christ: nothing would be lost or misplaced. God the Holy Spirit would personally see to it that Paul made it safely to Heaven. The Apostle would in the meantime have some obstacles to endure—ultimately, a decapitation—but his eternal abode in Heaven was sure!

Evidently, that was the confidence that that preacher and his wife had concerning their murdered daughter. She had lost her life at a very young age, but Father God did not lose her soul and neither did she. What persuasion, what hope, what confidence Calvary’s cross provides us! “That ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is Romans 2:24 talking about?

Young and Old(er), Take Heed!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word (Psalm 119:9 KJV).

By God’s grace, dear brethren, I celebrate my 29th birthday today!

Every passing birthday, Christian friends, causes us to realize two things. Firstly, we see how far we have come in our understanding of life, the world, and God’s ultimate plan. Secondly, we see how far we still have to go! Grace living is a process. Father God does not just “zap” us with sound Bible doctrine so we instantly have sinless behavior. We start as babes in Christ, knowing little. Yet, we do not stay there. Every time we open God’s Word and study it rightly divided, there is steady maturity. That daily intake of sound Bible doctrine allows the indwelling Holy Spirit more material to use in our lives. He takes those verses we believe and transforms us internally, thereby causing our behavior to conform to those grace doctrines.

Notice Ephesians 3:16: “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;….” And 1 Thessalonians 2:13: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” Finally, 1 Timothy 4:13: “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.”

Whether young or old(er), we can cleanse our filthy ways by paying attention to God’s Word rightly divided. Psalm 119 proceeds with: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (verse 105). The Holy Bible guides us right now, where we stand. It also illuminates us into the distant future, that we still not deviate left or right. When we do find ourselves drifting away from this right path, or if we find ourselves not even on that path anymore, then we take heed to the grace doctrines in the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon. (This reformation will save us much headache and heartache the next birthday… and countless others!) 🙂

A Grace Study Bible

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2 KJV).

Today, we reflect on five full years of the arC Ministries’ Grace Study Bible Project!

Some 100 years ago, the Scofield Study Bible was published. It was a work that popularized—not invented—dispensational Bible study. For a century, the Church the Body of Christ has used this monumental aid to edify itself. It was (and still is) useful in recovering precious Bible truths that had been lost for centuries, doctrines still pushed aside by denominational hierarchies that prefer to be the “authority” with their “tradition of men.”

Five years ago today, after much prayer and consideration, I began the formation of a new grace study Bible. Using the King James Bible, my goal in this project is to build on Dr. Scofield’s foundation laid long ago. We are (and will always be) indebted to that brother for his faithful service, his submission to the Holy Spirit to produce a profitable study Bible. (Incidentally, Dr. Scofield led a missionary to Christ, that missionary led a preacher to Christ, that preacher led a woman to Christ, that woman led Mom to Christ, and Mom led me to Christ.) What took Dr. Scofield decades to learn, we can acquire in a fraction of that time. Brother Scofield did not live long enough to progress any further in Bible understanding, but in the century since he has gone to heaven, a faithful remnant within the Body of Christ has expanded upon Dr. Scofield’s insightful notes. We recognize where he was wrong in certain areas, and we can improve those areas in our understanding and study.

In brief, some stats about our grace study Bible. We seem to be roughly 50 to 55 percent completed with it. How many more years it will take remains to be seen, but rest assured, what cannot be condensed into marginal notes or footnotes, will be, Lord willing, expanded into a full-Bible commentary book series! Stay tuned in the coming years and thank you for your prayer in this regard! 🙂

* You can read more about our Grace Study Bible Project here.

Bible Q&A #405: “Do the words “to be” belong in Romans 1:7 and 1 Corinthians 1:2?

Not Hearing God’s Words #1

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (John 8:47 KJV).

Friend, have you ever talked to a lost person about the Bible? Have you also ever spoken to another Christian about the Bible? If you paid attention to both scenarios, you will recall that they were two drastically different conversations. There was such disconnect when dealing with the lost person whereas there was more receptivity on the part of the Christian (usually). Why? Today’s Scripture highlights the reason.

In order to understand the Bible, one must have the indwelling Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 2:11-14 says: “[11] For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. [12] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. [14] But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Without that third Member of the Godhead, there is no illumination in the soul and no life in the spirit. While people can have meaningful conversations with other people—more meaningful than, say, people “conversing” with animals—Christian people and lost people really have no common dialog. Christians are “of God” in that they have been regenerated—given spiritual life—by the Holy Ghost. Titus 3:5 says: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;….” Unsaved people, on the other hand, are said to be in John 8:44: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do….”

Let us survey the context of today’s Scripture and see just how satanically-inspired and deceived Jesus’ audience really was….